Environmental Science... where are good schools?

WIth online resources like ■■■■■■■■■ and websites that help give better insight into colleges and their undergrad majors, I feel somewhat lost after researching for days on colleges that offer solid environmental science programs.

Niche categorized “Environmental Science” with meteorology, geology, forestry, climatology, among other things

I am an aspiring environmental scientist with a passion involving food & agriculture, sustainability, climatology, forestry, and natural resources and conservation. That being said… I have no background in engineering which I KNOW is somewhat limiting to where I can apply.

I would love some advice on where good schools are for specifically my interests and that development. (I just want the best education and research I could get, and am open to all different types of schools besides religious-affiliated ones.)

Here’s my list so far:

  1. Stanford
  2. USC
  3. Cal Poly SLO
  4. UCSD
  5. Johns Hopkins University
  6. UCSB

Thanks so much!

Cornell immediately comes to mind. They have programs in both agricultural sciences and environment & sustainability.

UC Davis: https://caes.ucdavis.edu/research/dept

Home state?

I think that it would be far too easy to list 100 schools.

This does lead to the questions that @Gumbymom asks. Your home state, budget, and stats would help a lot. What you want in a school (eg, location, size) would be useful also.

I will assume you know that environmental sciences and environmental studies are quite different. At least some schools have separate programs. I agree with the implication in your post that Environmental Sciences is the more interesting major (this is obviously just a personal opinion).

College of the Atlantic
Hobart & William Smith
St. Lawrence

With respect to UCs, consider Berkeley, Santa Cruz, Davis and Santa Barbara.

Colorado College
University of Vermont

For all the schools mentioned so far, do look closely at the major and what is entailed. Some lean more science-y than others. There is really no substitute for looking at each college’s website, required courses for the major and classes offered.

I don’t think students are expected to have an engineering background starting as an undergrad.

@Gumbymom @DadTwoGirls

I can preferably go to $50,000/year.

  • 3.8 Unweighted GPA and a 4.2 weighted GPA
  • 1430 SAT (higher 2nd score TBD)
  • Have AP and Honors academic rigor throughout high school
  • Founder of city cleanup & waste audit club (picked up around 375lbs of trash) as well as a free improv camp funded by the Dragon Kim Foundation
  • 4-year jazz band singer and dance captain in varsity show choir
  • Prospecting Implementing vegan and vegetarian meals at schools within my district
  • Prospecting Internship at Kids For Peace as well as WILDCOAST, an environmental youth research organization.

You might also want to look into Pitzer.

Hamilton samples positions attained by its environmental studies graduates. You can see how these outcomes align with your own interests and goals.


@merc81 I appreciate it! I’ll be sure to check out these resources.

You’ve gotten some great suggestions so far. I especially like @merc81’s list of liberal arts colleges, although I agree with @doschicos that Whitman and Carleton are obvious omissions, and I would add Juniata and Connecticut College as well.

In your home state, all of the UCs are excellent options, as are most of the CSUs, especially Humboldt State. You may also want to take a look at the WUE schools like U Hawaii, U Montana, Washington State, etc.


Now, about Duke – I studied Earth & Ocean Sciences at Duke with a focus on marine science, so I am admittedly biased, but there are very few places better than Duke for undergraduate studies in environmental science and policy.

For one, the environmental science program at Duke is housed both in the Trinity College of Arts & Sciences and the separate Nicholas School of the Environment, and undergraduates can take graduate courses in the Nicholas School taught by faculty who teach and research exclusively in the Nicholas School. This makes it very different from most private universities and liberal arts colleges, which usually cobble together an environmental science program from cross-listed courses in the biology, geology, and chemistry departments. Similarly, students interested in environmental policy can take courses both in Trinity and Duke’s top-notch Sanford School of Public Policy.

Additionally, Duke has some amazing resources for students interested in environmental science and organismal biology, such as a 7000 acre research forest adjacent to campus, a lemur center with the largest collection of prosimians outside of Madagascar, and a marine lab in Beaufort, NC.

Unlike the biology program at Duke, which is quite large and somewhat impersonal, the EOS and environmental science majors involve considerably smaller classes (mine averaged 10-15 students) with faculty who are very enthusiastic about working with undergraduates. Many of the courses involve field trips and incorporate research opportunities (e.g. there’s a historical geology course that involves a trip to Yellowstone).




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